Hindus offer prayers at Bhojshala in Dhar as ASI survey continues

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By Mahtab Ahmad

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Barricades around the disputed Bhojshala masjid at Dhar on February 21, 2003, which is under tight security.
| Photo Credit: A.M. Faruqui.

Hindus offered prayers at the contentious Bhojshala/Kamal Maula Mosque complex in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district on March 26, with a team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) continuing its court-mandated survey.

As per an ASI order of April 7, 2003, Hindus are allowed to worship inside the Bhojshala complex every Tuesday, while Muslims are allowed to offer namaz at the site on Fridays.

Also read | Exclude objects added to Bhojshala after 2003 from survey: Muslim body

Hindu devotees reached the historical complex around 7.15 a.m. before the start of the survey.

On March 11, the Madhya Pradesh High Court directed the ASI to carry out within six weeks a ‘scientific survey’ of the Bhojshala complex, a medieval-era monument that Hindus believe is a temple of Goddess Vagdevi (Saraswati) and the Muslim community calls Kamal Maula Mosque.

Acting on the court directives, the ASI team, accompanied by senior police and administrative officials, on March 22 began its survey at the disputed complex in the tribal-dominated district.

Balveer Singh, vice president of Bhoj Utsav Samiti, said that the ASI survey will bring out a better solution to the dispute.

“This was the temple of Maa Saraswati and it will be given to Hindus and the issue will be resolved,” he asserted.

It is believed that Raja Bhoj, a Hindu king, had installed the statue of Vagdevi in Bhojshala in 1034 AD. Hindu groups say the British took this statue to London in 1875.

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